Jim Blumstein ranks among the nation’s most prominent and influential scholars of health law, law and medicine, and voting rights. He has received frequent accolades for his erudite scholarship and outstanding teaching throughout his 53 years of distinguished service at Vanderbilt. He was the first law professor to be awarded the title of University Distinguished Professor, Vanderbilt’s highest honor, in 2022. Jim was also the first to receive a second tenured appointment in the School of Medicine.
As director of Vanderbilt’s Health Policy Center, Jim has served as the principal investigator on numerous grants concerning managed care, hospital management and medical malpractice. His peers recognized his leadership in health law and policy by electing him to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine). Under Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt, he was the chair of the Committee on Appointments, Renewal and Tenure. The committee helped chart the course for Vanderbilt’s enhanced national aspirations in teaching and research excellence. Vanderbilt honored him for his lifetime scholarly contributions with the Earl Sutherland Prize, its preeminent university-wide recognition for faculty. And he has received the student-sponsored Hall-Hartman Teaching Award, most recently in 2020-21. He also received the prestigious McDonald-Merrill-Ketcham Memorial Award for Excellence in Law and Medicine from Indiana University
In 2019, Blumstein (as co-principal investigator) helped a team of researchers from Vanderbilt’s schools of law, management and medicine secure a $1.7 million research grant to develop “safe harbor” standards of care based on scientific evidence. A sought-after health policy expert, he has served as former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s counsel on TennCare reform and participated actively in several Supreme Court cases, arguing three. He has been the Olin Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, an adjunct professor at Dartmouth Medical School, and a visiting professor at both Duke Law School and at Duke’s Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs.
A nationally renowned scholar throughout his academic career, Blumstein became the first of his Yale Law class to argue (and win) a case before the Supreme Court in 1971, a year after he joined the law faculty. He also argued Dunn v. Blumstein, which successfully challenged a durational residency requirement for voting registration and is taught in law classes.
Blumstein is a beloved colleague, a revered teacher, and a brilliant scholar. His wife, Andrée, is a 1981 Vanderbilt Law School alumna whose distinguished legal career has culminated in her service as Tennessee Solicitor General.